Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mike Nesmith & the First National Band: Magnetic South [RCA Victor, 1970]
"I love it here on the range," the Smart Monkee yodels, but then he adds that he'd "love it more if it changed," which sums up his country-rock synthesis quite nicely. I don't know if he's serious about this "free from euphemisms and alive with their own emotions" stuff he writes about in the notes, but one reason I like his songs is that they never seem to mean exactly what they say--even "Joanne," which could be covered by Paul Butterfield or Linda Ronstadt or somebody, partakes of the bemused natural distance that saves his more aimless experiments from getting lost. B